FIBERGLASS BRIDGES 101 / Q&A’s
Why would I chose fiberglass bridges over the alternatives?
Fiberglass is one of the strongest and most durable materials in the world. Unlike other building materials it does not rot, rust, corrode or deteriorate. Fiberglass bridges are particularly cost-effective for for pedestrian traffi c or vehicle traffi c weighing less than 15,000 pounds. Following you will find several very important advantages:
A fiberglass bridge has an expected life-span of well over 50 years where it will retain its structural integrity. It has a far superior resistance to the effects of UV, moisture, salt air than wood, steel or aluminum.
Low Maintenance _
A fiberglass bridge requires virtually no maintenance. Occasional pressure-washing is all that is needed to restore it to its original appearance. By comparison, steel will rust over time and require regular painting. Wood will rot and require replacement in as little as 8 years. Even aluminum, while it doesn’t rust, will corrode and require expensive maintenance to retain its appearance. Fiberglass bridges clearly out-perform all of these alternatives by having the least in maintenance costs.
A fiberglass bridge up to 50’ long and 8’ wide is usually delivered in 1 piece. If abutments are prepared in advance, installation is usually achieved in less than a couple of hours. The weight of a fiberglass bridge is a fraction of a similar bridge made of wood, aluminum or steel so the equipment requirements to lift it in place are much less.
A fiberglass bridge has no impact on the natural environment. There is no leeching of toxins or other undesirable materials. By contrast, pressure treated wood includes an arsenic component and galvanized steel is coated with zinc compounds. That is not to say that wood and steel are environmentally unacceptable but increasingly jurisdictions are making rules which limit their use near environmentally sensitive areas.
Fiberglass bridges are made in finishes which mimic materials commonly used in bridge construction. ‘Wood finish’ fiberglass bridges are virtually indistinguishable from the ‘real thing’ and users of the bridge don’t give it a second thought, they just assume it is a wood bridge. ‘Stone finish’ fiberglass bridges also closely resemble the ‘real thing’. We can explain that we actually use nature’s materials to make original moulds from which our bridge components are manufactured. For example, real wood planks are used to create ‘negatives’ which become moulds which capture all of nature’s imperfections such as knots, grains, etc. The same is true of our ‘stone finish’ bridges – the moulds include negatives of real natural rocks. These methods allow us to provide finishes with the highest level of authenticity.